Corey founded CORE Kitchen in downtown Oakland as a mission-oriented plant-based kitchen. When he needed to fulfill a new product order for retail partner Whole Foods, Opportunity Fund was there to help with a small business loan. Thanks to the working capital, the latest products from CORE Foods are coming to a grocery store near you.

Our customers inspire us every day, and we want to regularly share those stories to inspire you, too.  Corey founded CORE Kitchen in downtown Oakland as a mission-oriented plant-based kitchen. When he needed to fulfill a new product order for retail partner Whole Foods, Opportunity Fund was there to help with a small business loan. Thanks to the working capital, the latest products from CORE Foods are coming to a grocery store near you.

Growth Based on Inclusion

Corey Rennell started CORE Kitchen in 2010 in downtown Oakland as a response to some of the San Francisco Bay Area’s most pressing needs: access to healthy food and employment opportunities. A first-time entrepreneur, Corey used his history as a vegetarian and former employee at Whole Foods to build his dream business.

“We believe that every person has a right to healthy food,” he said.

CORE Kitchen serves vegan, organic, plant-based breakfast, lunch, and smoothies. Their positive impact goes beyond disruptive food systems. Corey hires formerly incarcerated people to work at CORE Kitchen.

“Oakland can be a very divided place on racial and economic lines,” Corey said. “We believe that we can rebuild our infrastructure by providing jobs for people in these communities.”

In 2015, CORE Kitchen expanded to CORE Foods, a line of perishable food bars sold in retail stores. A year later, they added oatmeal and granola. These products are available locally at stores like the Berkeley Bowl and Rainbow Grocery. CORE Foods went nationwide thanks to Corey’s partnership with Whole Foods’ local producer loan program.

“Whole Foods offered us a loan because they wanted to help us bring our items to their grocery store,” he said.

New Products, New Success

In 2017, the CORE Foods brand added a new product: a line of herbal, functional, sparkling health beverages sweetened with fruit juice. CORE Foods was thriving but lacked the capital necessary to fulfill the order of 100,000 bottles for the new contract with Whole Foods.

Our community partner Working Solutions connected Corey to us. “With the new contract, we’d outgrown Working Solutions’ capability to fund us,” he said. “Our bank wasn’t connecting to our needs.”

Opportunity Fund business development officer Shanna McClearn worked with Corey to close a $150,000 loan in June 2017. The speed and ease of the funding process initially caught Corey off guard. “We had approval within a week,” he said. “I was expecting two to four weeks. We had the money available before we were ready to use it.”

Thanks to the loan, CORE Foods Tonics are now available at Whole Foods locations in Los Angeles and Chicago. As CORE Foods expands to compete in new product categories against food and beverage giants like Kraft and Coca-Cola, they may outgrow Opportunity Fund one day.

Corey Rennell - CORE Foods

Corey and his staff are changing the face of healthy eating in Oakland (photo courtesy of Heimo Schmidt)

“Opportunity Fund has helped us invest in things we’ve needed for a long time and to position ourselves to run the business we know we can run,” he said. “That makes us much more attractive to a non-profit partner that we’ll ultimately partner with.”

Get to know more about Corey and the CORE Foods staff and mission in this video:

We’re proud to work with visionary entrepreneurs like Corey who create change in their communities, and we’re honored to be one of CORE Foods’ non-profit growth partners.

We hope this story has inspired you, too.  At Opportunity Fund, we offer easy-to-get, fast, and affordable small business loans to help small business owners succeed.  Visit our home page to find out more.


Opportunity Fund is tackling economic inequality so that hard work and perseverance means a shot at getting ahead, not just struggling to get by. Our programs are supported by a community of donors and investors whose contributions help to fund small businesses, support college students, and build stronger families and vibrant neighborhoods. Since 1994, the team has deployed $600 million and helped 20,000 families earn, save and invest in their own futures. Opportunity Fund has earned a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator,for our commitment to accountability and transparency.

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Just Drive helps Bay Area drivers lease cars to get started with on-demand driving jobs. When owner Chris needed to purchase a car for Just Drive, Opportunity Fund was there to help with a commercial vehicle loan.

Our customers inspire us every day, and we want to regularly share those stories to inspire you, too. Read about Chris Taylor of Just Drive. His business helps Bay Area drivers lease cars to get started with on-demand driving jobs. When Chris needed to purchase a car for Just Drive, Opportunity Fund was there to help with a commercial vehicle loan.

A Force for Driving Change

Chris Taylor started Just Drive in late 2014. The Bay Area-based company leases cars to drivers who want to get started in on-demand delivery and driving jobs such as Doordash and Uber. Chris saw the opportunity to help those who couldn’t get started in the industry and ran with the idea to help drivers finance cars with the goal of eventual ownership.

Just Drive’s model of acquiring cars to lease to their drivers helps drivers save money. The company assumes maintenance costs of each vehicle, plus each driver pays substantially less each month in car leasing fees compared to other companies. Chris also helps his drivers get started with on-demand driving jobs.

“We help them get a car and a job, set a goal to own their own car, and then be their own boss,” he said.

With the on-demand driving industry in flux, Just Drive faces serious challenges. In less than a year, Just Drive’s biggest industry competitors cut driver payouts dramatically. Undercut revenues made Chris look critically at his company and think of new ways to keep his unique model alive for the people he wanted to reach the most.

Opportunity Fund Helps Just Drive Stay on Track

None of the typical small business funding sources was right for Just Drive’s operations. “The SBA said that a car leasing business was passive income,” he said. “But it wasn’t passive. I was working every day.”

Chris’ business banker at Wells Fargo connected him to Opportunity Fund. Our loan consultant Madieu Shyllon worked with Just Drive to close a $7,000 commercial vehicle loan in March 2016 to purchase a vehicle. The working capital connection was the right fit for Just Drive, so Chris came back in October 2016 for a $16,000 loan to finance another vehicle purchase.

Chris Taylor - Just Drive

Chris helps his drivers get on the road to independence through his driving company (photo courtesy of Christian Peacock)


“Opportunity Fund was there to help me with liquidity” Chris said. “Without that, the business may have failed.”

The ease and speed of the funding process was a big win for Just Drive. “Madieu was a huge help,” Chris said. “He put in the time and effort necessary to get it done. I got the loan in less than a week after approval.”

Now that Chris has the working capital he needs to keep his fleet on the road, he can focus on helping others get started with jobs to improve their lives.

“Just Drive helps people from disadvantaged backgrounds,” he said. “People from East Oakland, West Oakland, or The Mission. A lot of people that get duped by predatory lenders or dishonest car dealerships. I was there to put them in a vehicle.”

We’re proud to support entrepreneurs like Chris with vision to change the world, and we’ll be there to help grow Just Drive’s fleet in the future.

We hope this story has inspired you, too.  At Opportunity Fund, we offer easy-to-get, fast, and affordable small business loans to help small business owners succeed.  Visit our home page to find out more.


Opportunity Fund is tackling economic inequality so that hard work and perseverance means a shot at getting ahead, not just struggling to get by. Our programs are supported by a community of donors and investors whose contributions help to fund small businesses, support college students, and build stronger families and vibrant neighborhoods. Since 1994, the team has deployed $600 million and helped 20,000 families earn, save and invest in their own futures. Opportunity Fund has earned a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator for our commitment to accountability and transparency.

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Adolfo is a champion horse trainer and western wear retail entrepreneur. When he needed to increase inventory for his store in Oakley, Calif., Opportunity Fund was there to help with a small business loan. Two Amigos Western Wear has become one of our most successful repeat borrowers with eight loans.

Our customers inspire us every day, and we want to regularly share those stories to inspire you, too.  Adolfo is a champion horse trainer and western wear retail entrepreneur. When he needed to increase inventory for his store in Oakley, Calif., Opportunity Fund was there to help with a small business loan. Two Amigos Western Wear has become one of our most successful repeat borrowers with eight loans.

Riding Toward Success

Adolfo Ortiz started Two Amigos Western Wear in 2006. Shortly after moving to Oakley, a small Northern California town on the edge of Central Valley farmland, Adolfo saw the need for a store catering to local farmers, ranchers, and cowboys.

Adolfo has been a self-starter his whole life, from the time he came to the U.S. from Mexico to find work at 14, to his other passion: training horses. As a state champion horse trainer, Adolfo knows what his fellow riders and ranchers need to stay in style and competition. It was an easy fit for him to transition from 20-plus years in the restaurant business to a retail entrepreneur.

“I race quarter horses at California fairs,” he said. “Every time we needed something, like riding boots, nice hats, outfits for riding, or accessories, there were no places to shop around here.”

Two Amigos Western Wear has grown to a one stop shop with riding gear such as saddles, hats, boots, livestock feed, and horse care supplies. “It makes me happy when my customers walk in and say, ‘Look at how much inventory you have! This is a beautiful store’,” Adolfo said.

Opportunity Fund Keeps Two Amigos Western Wear in the Race

Adolfo started working with Opportunity Fund as his small business lender in August 2013. His first loan of $47,000 helped keep inventory fresh. Since then, Two Amigos Western Wear has become a 7-time repeat borrower with loans of $40,000 each time.

Opportunity Fund small business officer Shanna McClearn recently approved the latest loan for Two Amigos Western Wear in October 2017. The new loan is helping Two Amigos Western Wear purchase stock for the upcoming holiday shopping rush.

Adolfo Ortiz - Two Amigos Western Wear

Adolfo is able to keep his store stocked with the best inventory for his customers thanks to our small business loans (photo courtesy of Christian Peacock)

“Since working with Opportunity Fund, my cash flow has improved so much,” he said. “The loans give me the push to do more things with my business. The money is right there within 2 to 3 days.”

The success of his store allows Adolfo to reach out to his community and apply his expertise in horses and retail to help others. “People come to me when they need anything,” he said. “I help them fill out paperwork to buy horses, or provide items for giveaways and fundraisers. Anything they need, like hats or boots, I tell them to come in and pick it out.”

Two Amigos Western Wear has grown so much that Adolfo had to add more staff. He’s also looking to open a second location in the next year. We’ll be there to help with another round of fast, easy-to-get, and affordable funding.

We’re happy to help Adolfo get the working capital he needs to keep up in the race for success, and we’re pleased to see his business grow.

We hope this story has inspired you, too.  At Opportunity Fund, we offer easy-to-get, fast, and affordable small business loans to help small business owners succeed.  Visit our home page to find out more.


Opportunity Fund is tackling economic inequality so that hard work and perseverance means a shot at getting ahead, not just struggling to get by. Our programs are supported by a community of donors and investors whose contributions help to fund small businesses, support college students, and build stronger families and vibrant neighborhoods. Since 1994, the team has deployed $600 million and helped 20,000 families earn, save and invest in their own futures. Opportunity Fund has earned a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator,for our commitment to accountability and transparency.

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Sarah sets up business owners with employee perks packages. She needed working capital to help grow her business. Thanks to a small business loan from Opportunity Fund, Sarah can focus on her clients instead of worrying about her bottom line.

Our customers inspire us every day, and we want to regularly share those stories to inspire you, too.  Read about Sarah Garcia of Allegiance Employee Perks in San Diego. Sarah sets up business owners with employee perks packages. She needed working capital to help grow her business. Thanks to a small business loan from Opportunity Fund, Sarah can focus on her clients instead of worrying about her bottom line

Making Work Fun

Sarah Garcia established Allegiance Employee Perks in the Kearny Mesa area of San Diego in 2015. She got her start in corporate events coordination in after switching jobs as a dispatcher for a security company in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Allegiance Employee Perks specializes in offering employee discounts to business owners and scheduling employee appreciation days featuring local clients, including popular restaurants, sports teams, and golf courses. They also provide connections to these local clients as fundraisers for nonprofits like Susan G. Komen and the La Jolla VA Hospital.

Sarah had a vision for success in San Diego. She took advantage of a new opportunity when her company signed the Major League Baseball San Diego Padres as a client.

“I saw myself as a business owner,” she said. “Once we acquired the Padres as a client, I had the opportunity to open our office here.”

Sarah works with a small but mighty team of four women who coordinate the connections to sports teams and other hot tickets in the San Diego area. As Sarah grows her business, she needs access to working capital to retain her staff. Her natural networking ability led her to Opportunity Fund.

Starting a Lending Relationship

Sarah got a referral to Opportunity Fund after meeting with an advisor at the San Diego district office of the U.S. Small Business Association. She called loan consultant Byron Escobar, who helped close a $2,600 loan in February 2017 for Allegiance Employee Perks.

The working capital helped her incorporate the company and made it easy to start marketing and recruiting projects to grow her business.

“There were lots of high interest loans from other lenders available,” she said. “I wasn’t interested.”

Sarah and Byron - Allegiance Employee Perks

Sarah and Byron celebrate a successful loan deal (photo courtesy of Heimo Schmidt)

The connection to Opportunity Fund has allowed Sarah to build a long-term lending relationship that fits the needs of her business. “Without Opportunity Fund, I would have struggled a lot longer,” she said. “Before, I didn’t have access to many resources. Opportunity Fund is the right place to go.”

Sarah’s next goal is to sign more San Diego area clients and eventually expand to the Sacramento market. We’ll be there to help Sarah keep her entrepreneurial dreams alive and kicking with our easy-to-get, fast, and affordable small business loans.

We hope this story has inspired you, too.  At Opportunity Fund, we offer easy-to-get, fast, and affordable small business loans to help small business owners succeed.  Visit our home page to find out more.


Opportunity Fund is tackling economic inequality so that hard work and perseverance means a shot at getting ahead, not just struggling to get by. Our programs are supported by a community of donors and investors whose contributions help to fund small businesses, support college students, and build stronger families and vibrant neighborhoods. Since 1994, the team has deployed $600 million and helped 20,000 families earn, save and invest in their own futures. Opportunity Fund has earned a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator, for our commitment to accountability and transparency.

Visit us online at opportunityfundloan.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Shannen needed to purchase better equipment to grow her business. Thanks to our partnership with Lending Club, we’re helping Shannen reach her goals with our small business loans.

Our customers inspire us every day, and we want to regularly share those stories to inspire you, too. Read about Shannen Enos of Enos CPR Services. Shannen needed to purchase better equipment to grow her business. Thanks to our partnership with Lending Club, we’re helping Shannen reach her goals with our small business loans.

A Hands-on Entrepreneur

Shannen Enos started her CPR and first aid training business, Enos CPR Services, in August 2007. As an independent contractor for the American Heart Association, Shannen uses her decades of experience as a registered nurse to teach an essential life saving skill.

Through Enos CPR, Shannen provides training for companies that ask their employees to become certified in CPR, first aid, and automated external defibrillator (AED) use. Her work has taken her to teach at workplaces all around the Bay Area plus six states outside of California.

Like many small business owners, Shannen does it all for her company. On top of running her training classes, she’s the one who balances the books, maintains schedules, and develops client relationships. She also works part time as an emergency room nurse at Kaiser Walnut Creek.

Shannen knows what she needs to keep her business running well, so when she reached out to lenders to find a small business loan, she was surprised to run into several obstacles to funding.

“I needed to upgrade my equipment to offer more in-depth classes,” Shannen said. “Every single place I turned to for lending shut the door on me. They didn’t see my business growth. I never pay my bills late. I represent myself well as a business owner and a person. It felt like those lenders weren’t giving me a chance to prove it.”

She almost gave up. Then she tried one more lender.

Growing a Healthy Business

Shannen came to Opportunity Fund through our partnership with Lending Club. Based on her previous experience in business lending, she came into the process feeling skeptical.

“I figured Opportunity Fund was another company that would shut the door on me,” she said. “Opportunity Fund got back to me the very next day, apologizing for my bad experiences and saying they wanted to help.”

We worked with Shannen to close a $15,000 loan in May 2016–the first ever loan in our Lending Club partnership!

Shannen Enos - Enos CPR Services

Shannen keeps her students engaged through hands-on instruction and real world life-saving lessons (photo courtesy of Christian Peacock)

“I never knew how difficult it would be to get funding,” Shannen said. “With Opportunity Fund. I didn’t feel pushed aside. We had conversations about me as a person and me as a business owner.”

Now that Shannen has the working capital she needs for her business, she can focus on helping others learn CPR and potentially save a life. She even taught a class for our staff at Opportunity Fund’s San Jose headquarters in November 2016.

We’re proud to support hardworking entrepreneurs who make a difference, and we’re happy to help Shannen grow her business.


We hope this story has inspired you, too.  At Opportunity Fund, we offer easy-to-get, fast, and affordable small business loans to help small business owners succeed.  Visit our home page to find out more.

Opportunity Fund is California’s largest and fastest-growing nonprofit lender to small businesses. In fiscal year ’16, we made $60M in loans to help more than 2,200 small business owners invest in their businesses. Opportunity Fund invests in small business owners who do not have access to traditional financing. As a founding member and signatory to the Borrower’s Bill of Rights, we believe in the important role small businesses play in our community and the economy, and we aim to help owners financially succeed.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Gayle founded a successful business card management company in San Diego. When she needed to complete a major software project, Opportunity Fund was there to help with a small business loan. Thanks to the working capital, BusinessCardManager.com is on the fast track to greater success.

Our customers inspire us every day, and we want to regularly share those stories to inspire you, too.  Read about Gayle Hawks of BusinessCardManager.com in San Diego. Gayle founded a successful business card management company in San Diego. When she needed to complete a major software project, Opportunity Fund was there to help with a small business loan. Thanks to the working capital, BusinessCardManager.com is on the fast track to greater success.

Managing Success

Gayle Hawks started BusinessCardManager.com in 2002 in San Diego. The online company manages business cards for large organizations and government agencies throughout the United States. “We work with any business in the public or private sector, for profit and non-profit, that has 100 employees or more,” Gayle said.  

With the help of her business partner and husband Keith, Gayle has grown the online company into a leader in online business card management. As the business grew, she had to add staff and build a new sales office. Gayle saw the future of her company in advanced software for BusinessCardManager.com. They needed an application program interface (API) to create the upgraded business card procurement and management solutions that put the company on the map.

“The new API allows us to offer services to large organizations that no one else can,” Gayle said.

Working capital didn’t come easy for Gayle, even as BusinessCardManager.com was doing well. It’s a tough industry where many printing companies failed during the latest recession. Plus, she had waves of high-interest loan offers coming at her from every angle. Her search for the right loan was complicated.

Graduating to Better Financing

Gayle learned about Opportunity Fund through her small business lending research online. She reached out to our business development officer Adriana Williams, who helped close a $35,000 loan for BusinessCardManager.com in July 2015.

“Adriana was easy to work with,” Gayle said. “Everything was professional and quick. I never had to wait for her to call me back. I never had to wonder about a thing.”

The loan allowed Gayle and her team to complete and launch their new software.  “Without the loan from Opportunity Fund, we would be a year behind,” Gayle said.

Gayle Hawks - BCM.com

Opportunity Fund helps small business owners like Gayle “graduate” to better small business financing (photo courtesy of Heimo Schmidt)


Gayle is thankful for the working capital that gave her some breathing room while launching the best version of BusinessCardManager.com. Even better, she was able to repay the loan is less than two years. With help from our fast, easy-to-get, and affordable small business loans, her business can qualify for lower interest, longer-term loans from lenders like the U.S. Small Business Administration. We’ve helped small business owners like Gayle “graduate” to better financing.

The next level of the business is an online portal integrated with human capital management software platforms that will allow clients to manage their business cards from any platform. “That’s our future,” Gayle said. “We want to hire more sales staff and expand our marketing to get to the next level.”

We’re excited to support successful entrepreneurs like Gayle and we’re proud to watch her take the next step with her business.

We hope this story has inspired you, too.  At Opportunity Fund, we offer easy-to-get, fast, and affordable small business loans to help small business owners succeed.  Visit our home page to find out more.


Opportunity Fund is tackling economic inequality so that hard work and perseverance means a shot at getting ahead, not just struggling to get by. Our programs are supported by a community of donors and investors whose contributions help to fund small businesses, support college students, and build stronger families and vibrant neighborhoods. Since 1994, the team has deployed $600 million and helped 20,000 families earn, save and invest in their own futures. Opportunity Fund has earned a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator, for our commitment to accountability and transparency.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Javier Rodriguez needed a small business loan to improve his Colombian restaurant in San Diego. Thanks to a small business loan from Opportunity Fund, Javier was able to buy inventory from Colombia and new equipment for Antojitos Colombianos.

Our customers inspire us every day, and we want to regularly share those stories to inspire you, too.  Read about Javier Rodriguez of Antojitos Colombianos in San Diego. Opportunity Fund helped Javier get the loan he needed to buy inventory from Colombia and new equipment for his Colombian restaurant.

Serving Up Success

Javier Rodriguez opened the first Colombian restaurant in San Diego in 2011. Six years later, Antojitos Colombianos has grown into an essential neighborhood spot for authentic Colombian food and good times with friends.

Javier came to the United States from Colombia to study business. After studying at San Diego City College, he worked in the hospitality and restaurant management industry for over two decades. Before long, he followed through with his dream to start his own business.

“I didn’t want to work for someone else,” he said. “I wanted time for my family and to set my own schedule.”

Family is a big part of Javier’s life, both at home and the restaurant. Antojitos Colombianos staff is mostly family members, from Javier’s wife and kids to cousins and nephews. “I’m thankful for my business,” he said. “We can pay the bills and rent, and we can put some money aside to travel to Colombia.”

With 20 years of success in the industry and two Small Business of the Year awards from California State Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez, Javier is no stranger to success. He found he needed a little help to keep Antojitos Colombianos on top for his customers. “I needed to buy merchandise from Colombia, which is very expensive,” he said. “I needed new equipment too.”

Helping Entrepreneurs Engage Their Communities

Javier followed a tip from a friend and fellow business owner about Opportunity Fund. When Javier met loan officer Byron Escobar, he knew it was the right connection.

“Byron came to my house to help me get started with the loan process,” Javier said. “The money was in my bank account 72 hours after I signed the application.”

Javier and Byron - Antojitos Colombianos

Javier works with Byron to improve his business and to reach out to entrepreneurs in his neighborhood (photo courtesy of Heimo Schmidt)


Byron helped close the $10,000 loan in September 2016. The fast, easy-to-get, and affordable capital made a difference in Javier’s business right away. The regulars from the Imperial Avenue neighborhood mix with customers from the nearby military base to create a fun atmosphere with live music and delicious food.

Javier is grateful for the connection to Opportunity Fund, not just for the working capital but also to build a relationship with a lender that understands his needs.

“I tried other lenders,” he said. “There were so many requirements. Unfortunately I didn’t meet some of them.”

See how we’re helping Javier grow his business in this video:


Javier gives back to the small business community by hosting meetings at his restaurant for local entrepreneurs to meet Byron and get answers to their questions about financing.

We’re proud to support outstanding small business owners like Javier and we’re glad to assist him with building a network for local entrepreneurs.

We hope this story has inspired you, too.  At Opportunity Fund, we offer easy-to-get, fast, and affordable small business loans to help small business owners succeed.  Visit our home page to find out more.


Opportunity Fund is California’s largest and fastest-growing nonprofit lender to small businesses. In fiscal year ‘16, we made $60M in loans to help more than 2,200 small business owners invest in their businesses.  Opportunity Fund invests in small business owners who do not have access to traditional financing. As a founding member and signatory to the Borrower’s Bill of Rights, we believe in the important role small businesses play in our community and the economy, and we aim to help owners financially succeed.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Roan wanted to grow her art studio into a hub for local artists. Thanks to three small business loans from Opportunity Fund, The Arsenal is opening a new studio and gallery in San Jose’s Japantown.

Our customers inspire us every day, and we want to regularly share those stories to inspire you, too. Get to know Roan Victor of The Arsenal in San Jose. Roan wanted to grow her art studio into a hub for local artists. Thanks to three small business loans from Opportunity Fund, The Arsenal is opening a new studio and gallery in San Jose’s Japantown.

Creating Connections in the San Jose Art Community

Roan Victor started The Arsenal in the summer of 2011. Roan and her husband Sean Boyles, both artists based in San Jose, chose to open an art studio and gallery in their hometown.

The Arsenal offers art classes and workshops to artists in the community of all ages and skill levels. “We work with all kinds of people,” Roan said. “Seniors would come in to buy oil paints, and at the same time, younger guys would come in to buy spray paint. They would all interact with each other. It was fun to bring different cultures and ages together.”

Roan’s vision for her business included a move to their dream location in San Jose’s Japantown, for the community art connections, walkable neighborhood, and strong small business network. First, she needed a small business loan to help The Arsenal grow.

Her business banker at Bank of America was focused more on the financial success of The Arsenal, which didn’t meet her needs as a small business owner. “Our goal is to have a significant contribution to the art community in San Jose,” she said.

Opportunity Fund Helps The Arsenal Stay in the Picture

Bank of America connected Roan to Opportunity Fund loan consultant Laly Velazquez, who was able to close a $4,000 loan in September 2014 for The Arsenal. The funds helped Roan set up a new classroom space with proper lighting. Roan paid off the loan in less than a year and applied for a second loan of $8,000 in June 2015, which helped replace and maintain equipment like their silk screen machine.

Roan came back for a third loan this January for $8,000 to help move The Arsenal to Japantown. Roan and Sean are working with Roan’s sister Regine to prepare their new space for a grand re-opening this summer. With their new space, The Arsenal can offer studio space to local artists, plus more classes and workshops featuring artists from the area and a brand new art gallery.

Roan Victor - The Arsenal

Roan is a teacher, a business leader, and an advocate for her community arts scene (photo courtesy of Heimo Schmidt)

Laly’s help through the loan process made a difference for Roan. “Sean and I both went to school for art so we don’t have a business background,” Roan said. “Working with Laly is like talking to a friend. She shows me what to do and how Opportunity Fund can help.”

Roan sees The Arsenal as a part of Japantown’s thriving arts scene and business community. “Our goal is to have a great studio with everything artists need, like what I had when I was studying painting at San Jose State,” she said. “I want to build a hub where artists with different experiences can work together.”

We’re proud to support Roan’s dreams to build The Arsenal into a community hub for artists and creators.

We hope this story has inspired you, too.  At Opportunity Fund, we offer easy-to-get, fast, and affordable small business loans to help small business owners succeed.  Visit our home page to find out more.


Opportunity Fund is California’s largest and fastest-growing nonprofit lender to small businesses. Last year, we made $60M in loans to help more than 2,200 small business owners invest in their businesses.  Opportunity Fund invests in small business owners who do not have access to traditional financing. As a founding member and signatory to the Borrower’s Bill of Rights, we believe in the important role small businesses play in our community and the economy, and we aim to help owners financially succeed.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Deago Williams started his life over by starting his own business. He worked hard to build his business but couldn’t get financing through his bank. Deago is improving his business thanks to two small business loans from Opportunity Fund.

Our customers inspire us every day, and we want to regularly share those stories to inspire you, too. Get to know Deago Williams of Williams Auto Detailing in Sacramento. Deago started his life over with hard work but couldn’t get a bank loan to grow his business. Read how we’re helping Deago improve his business and better serve his customers with our small business loans.

A Second Chance for a First Time Business Owner

Deago Williams took an unconventional path to entrepreneurship. After serving 16 years in prison in the Midwest, he came to Sacramento, California looking for a chance to rebuild his life.

Deago has 13 years of auto detailing experience, so he got back into the industry when he landed in California. “I had to teach myself all over again,” he said. “I got tired of working for somebody else. I wanted to see what it was like to have my own business.”

He founded Williams Auto Detailing in 2014 to fulfill those ambitions. Deago and his staff of his wife Denise and a new hire from the shop’s neighborhood work primarily with auto dealers in need of professional cleaning for their car inventories.

Soon Deago found the hard truth for most small business owners: it’s impossible to do everything on your own. He was working in the business every day, plus handling the finances, marketing, and other business functions.

He needed a small business loan to help purchase new equipment. “I go through a lot of money,” he said. “I’ve been able to stay in business this long because I put majority of my money back into my business.”

Deago’s bank couldn’t help, but a connection to Opportunity Fund made a huge difference for Williams Auto Detailing.

A Bright Future with Clean Cars

When I started my business I had no credit,” Deago said. His business banker at Wells Fargo was supportive of Deago’s business goals, but couldn’t get him the loan he needed. They introduced Deago to Opportunity Fund loan consultant Madieu Shyllon.

“Madieu visited me at my business,” Deago said. “He saw where I was coming from. He understood me and gave me confidence.”

Madieu got Deago started with a $3,500 loan in November 2015. Deago was able to pay the loan off and get a second loan of $8,000 in May 2016.

The working capital helps pay for backups for equipment that breaks down, which allows three Williams Auto Detailing employees to keep up with demand from seven auto dealers.

Deago Williams - Williams Auto Detailing

Deago counts on our small business loans to help him buy new equipment (photo courtesy of Heimo Schmidt)

Deago values Opportunity Fund’s commitment to open communication. “If I need to talk to someone, they lead me in the right direction with the right people. It’s taken care of,” he said.

Deago is focused on improving his business every day, with an upcoming move to a bigger workspace in the neighborhood. We’re focused on helping hardworking entrepreneurs like Deago make their dreams come true with our easy-to-get, fast, and affordable small business loans.

We hope this story has inspired you, too.  At Opportunity Fund, we offer easy-to-get, fast, and affordable small business loans to help small business owners succeed.  Visit our home page to find out more.


Opportunity Fund is California’s largest and fastest-growing nonprofit lender to small businesses. Last fiscal year, we made $60M in loans to help more than 2,200 small business owners invest in their businesses.  Opportunity Fund invests in small business owners who do not have access to traditional financing. As a founding member and signatory to the Borrower’s Bill of Rights, we believe in the important role small businesses play in our community and the economy, and we aim to help owners financially succeed.

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Opportunity Fund. Working Capital for Working People. opportunityfund.org